Summer Job Spotlight: Emily Newman, 2L, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

August 7, 2020

Emily Newman, 2L, is spending her summer as an intern with the Office of the General Counsel for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA is scientific agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere. The internship, which would have normally taken place in Juneau, Alaska, is being conducted remotely.

How did you connect with this summer opportunity?
I am on the Career Center’s public interest listserv which frequently emails out public interest job postings and internship opportunities. I then found this position through a posting on the University of Arizona Guide to Federal Internships & Honors Programs, which was linked to me through a Career Center email.

Please describe a “typical” day on the job.
My day usually starts with a check-in meeting with my supervisors or an all-hands staff meeting via video chat. Throughout the day I’ll be working on different research projects and memos often involving issues arising under the Magnuson-Stevens Act or the Endangered Species Act. A couple of times a week I have the opportunity to participate in other meetings, usually related to a research project I am working on, such as a science working group meeting for an international fisheries management group or a client meeting with NOAA Sustainable Fisheries or the National Marine Fisheries Service.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your summer experience? (E.g., Are you working from home? Has it changed the substance of what you do?)
The pandemic has meant that I am working at home rather than in Juneau. I wouldn’t say it has changed the substance of the work I do as I am working on similar projects that past interns were assigned. While I have less face-to-face interactions throughout the day, I have also been able to participate in certain things that I wouldn’t have been able to if I was in-person, such as the Department of Commerce Intern Webinar Series where DOC interns meet via video chat to hear presentations from other DOC attorneys and to network.

How has your summer experience compared with your expectations so far?
There was a point where I was expecting that the internship would be cancelled, and I am grateful that the office was able to keep me on as an intern virtually. So in that sense, the opportunity to still intern with the Office of the General Counsel for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration has exceeded my expectations. I was also very encouraged to see the time and interest my supervisors put into making the internship experience beneficial for me. For example, they put together a career roundtable for me with everyone in the office so I could hear about their career paths and the work they do.

How does your experience connect with what you currently envision doing with your law degree?
My undergraduate background/career is in conservation science and I would ideally like to work for a government agency or some sort of conservation-focused NGO or litigation group, so this experience has been a really great stepping stone for connecting my past experiences with my legal education thus far.

What advice would you offer another law student thinking about working in a similar position next summer?
I would say if you have the opportunity and ability to take a position somewhere new where you didn’t expect to work, go for it. Also, the downside of many of these kinds of internships is that they don’t pay, so apply for funding wherever you can!

How are you spending your free time this summer?
I have been trying to use a good part of my time taking action and/or volunteering through online projects such as Mapping Prejudice and the Movement Law Lab’s Build Power/Fight Power Course.

Emily Newman, 2L
Emily Newman, 2L

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